Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Family-Integrated Church Model May Be Misunderstood




We're pretty convinced the family-integrated church model is a more biblical model for "doing church", and the prevailing model, that of separating into age and special interest groups during the regular meeting of the church, isn't really scripturally supportable.  

We believe the Lord has been challenging many to reconsider the current model, and it's been encouraging to see what He's doing in the hearts and minds of individuals, pastors, and elders across the nations. 

We think the family-integrated model, however, may have been somewhat misunderstood.  Some assume churches which identify by that name are for families only, for those with a father, mother, and children in the home, that it is not a church for singles, widows and widowers, single parents raising children on their own, infertile couples, or couples whose families have grown.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

By family-integrated, we mean the "family of God", not merely individual families of a specific make-up, integrated as they sing praises to our glorious God, as they hear the Word preached with wisdom and authority and are lovingly ministered to, as they themselves minister to others, regardless of age or marital status.  Perhaps a better phrase might be "age-integrated", encouraging all members of the Body to remain present during the meeting, from infants to the very elderly.  

Please read the following "Declaration on the Complementary Roles of Church and Family" here which more thoroughly covers what family-integrated means and doesn't mean. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

Raising Daughters to Raise the Next Generation




I came across this blogpost today and thought I'd share it to encourage moms to remember their high calling, to take joy in their God-given role, and to focus on the longterm goal, that of equipping our daughters (and sons) to raise the next generation.  

It's printed below, but you can find it here at Raising Homemakers. 

 

Raising Daughters That Will Raise the Next Generation


Today we have a guest post by Jenny Ervin of A Mother’s Heritage:

They rocked their babies gently with the blankets wrapped carefully around each one. When it was time to pray all three began their motherly sway as they tenderly bounced their little ones to sleep during family worship. Yes, there they stood. My three little girls pretending to do what they have seen many, many times. And my heart smiles inside.

There is nothing I would rather my daughters imitate than mothering. Caring tenderly for the life of another, being a nourisher and giver of ones self is a high calling. In a time when we have “take our daughters to work” day, and “career day” this is where I want their little feminine hearts to beat.
The world cries out daily in it’s loud voice to quench these longings towards the home. Home is deemed second place. And we pummel our little girls with questions of what they want to be when they grow up. When they answer with bright eyes and joyful lips “I want to be a Mommy!” the enemy voices seek to spring up and give us doubt. “Of course, you want to be a mommy… but what else?”

What else?

Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough to be raising the next generation? Isn’t it enough to have a small army under you that you are training for God? Isn’t it enough to be growing little minds, hearts and souls in the rich soil of the gospel…planting seeds of truth to bear fruit, with His blessing? Isn’t it enough to have a gospel nursery right there in your small suburban home, or in your tucked away country dwelling?

Yes, it is enough. God deems it so. He loves this high calling and so should we.

And so when other girls might be fixated on the next fad in clothing, and what career path they will be focusing on…I joy to see my little ladies rocking away with their dollies. I delight in seeing the practiced way they lovingly dress and care for their charges, pretending to bring them to “Grandma Jenny”. It is sweet to see them lifting their shirts to pretend to give nourishment to another, and kissing a sweet little head of their imaginary child. They are practicing…and it warms my heart. They are valuing one of the things that is precious to the Lord.

This also causes me to stop and think…what am I modeling for my girls? With my own 8 month old I am a daily an example to my other young ones. Do they see me sigh in frustration when the needs of my baby interrupt my previous plans. Do they hear me complain when I have been awakened many times in the night to feed my baby?

Or, am I exemplifying a spirit of joyful, sacrificial, radiant motherhood?

Do my children see me giving of myself cheerfully?

Do my children know that they delight me?

I pray that more and more these latter attitudes will pervade my home, and may the sweet aroma of the Titus 2 graces fill your dwellings as well.


Jenny is an ordinary mom with an extraordinary God. Following a beautiful courtship, she has been married to her best friend for over 16 years. Jenny homeschools her 7 children (ages 14-8mo). When she is not teaching, playing with her children, or changing diapers, she loves to sing, write, blog and clean…yes, clean. As a recovering OCD perfectionist and “neat freak” she still has unmatched socks, messy closets and is allergic to mornings. Jenny is also the author of the ebook Embracing the Mess. Come and be encouraged, blessed and challenged in your high calling as a wife and mother over at A Mother’s Heritage. You may also follow her on Facebook, or Twitter.